Nanaki - 01.06.14

Interviewed by
Nanaki - 01.06.14The following is a mini interview of generic questions that we posed to all bands that wanted to answer:

1. How did you get your band name?
It's the name of a character from Final Fantasy VII, I thought it be a good name for a band I guess. It's a long time ago so it's hard to recall my reasoning back then.

2. How did this band get started?
I'd been writing and recording music with Emma Ryan, the original bass player, for some time, it had never really been intended to be instrumental. It was Emma's suggestion that we didn't need to find a singer that initially sparked the beginning of the band we would become. I was already a big fan of bands like Mogwai but it had never occurred to me that I'd make instrumental music. After some false starts with less than reliable extra musicians we got the first full line-up together in 2003 with Steve Halsall on guitar and Matt Gell on drums. There were a number of personal issues and line-up changes over the years but it was Emma's moving away from the island that put a definite end to the band in 2008. In more recent times I'd recorded a couple of songs for Small Bear Records Christmas compilations as Nanaki and that spurred me on to want to create more of this music, resulting in the new EP 'Afterlight.'

3. What bands are you influenced by?
In terms of instrumental music, bands like Mogwai, Mono, Explosions In The Sky, etc were inspiring at the beginning of Nanaki, but I've always listened to a lot of music. Stuff like Sonic Youth, Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, Six.BySeven, Nick Cave, My Bloody Valentine, Low and plenty more have had an impact on the way I look at music I'd say. It's always hard to be sure what is a true influence and what is something you just like, to me at least.

4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
God, so many! Urusei Yatsura, because they were amazing and I never got to see them. I suppose I should say someone really successful, for the exposure it would give Nanaki, but to hell with it, I'd like to see (and meet) Urusei Yatsura. I could easily give a hundred different answers though, all of them honest and true.

5. Best food to eat on tour?
Any food is generally a bonus when you're touring! Something cheap but at least semi-healthy ideally. By which I mean not fast-food, which is what you're probably going to end up eating half the time anyway.

6. Why should people listen to your band?
Because it rocks? Seriously, I find this hard to answer without sounding like a dick, I guess I have that whole indie-rock aversion to self-agrandisement. I genuinely put my heart and soul into the music I make though, so if you like to hear new music and you're not scared off by the thought of no vocals then please check it out. Just maybe you'll find something to love on this EP, I certainly hope so.

7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with?
One that makes a huge a mount of money? I don't follow sport at all so I have no idea, but yeah, some overpaid footballer I suppose, that would finance my musical endeavours for the rest of my life I imagine.

8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
The rest of Small Bear Records, especially Phil Reynolds who mastered the EP and did the packaging for the physical copies. Grace Turner for letting me use her wonderful painting as the cover artwork, my family and anyone that has bought 'Afterlight' or supported me and my music in any way over the years. Then of course I'd thank the Fairy Queen, the dragons and any other mythical creatures that populate this magical world that I'm apparently now living in, where I'm somehow winning a Grammy.

9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
My lack of recognition and success within it? I'd like to change the perception of music as being something of no value, as something that should just be taken for free with no regards for its creators, but I think that's an unrealistic aim, sadly.

10. Memorable tour experience?
The time that our drummer was so drunk he thought the gig had been soundcheck, and somehow managed to turn a cymbal inside-out was fairly memorable. It's a long time since Nanaki played live so it's hard to remember anything else particularly out of the ordinary. My main memories are just of playing, some great times and some less so.

11. What does AP.net mean to you?
Punk, and punk rock, has many meanings to different people. It is as much an attitude, or way of life and thinking as it is a sound or style of music. To me it's about freedom, about being yourself, doing things yourself, your own way, with passion and being true to your vision. I think Absolute Punk exemplifies punk and the punk ethos in it's many varieties.

12. What is your favorite song to play?
I think my favorite Nanaki song to play live was probably 'Let Me Close My Eyes,' but it's hard to choose really. We used to do a pretty cool version of 'Halloween' by The Misfits though. Surprising how well that works as an epic post-rock instrumental. I wish we'd recorded a version of that.

13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Until recently it was Minehead in England where the All Tomorrow's Parties festival was held. Now that that's over I really don't have one. If I go on holiday it's somewhere off-island to go and watch bands, the last one was Sebadoh in Manchester. The back of a moving vehicle on the way to a gig, the studio, or a a stage are the only places I really want to be.

14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
Things like The Beatles, Cream, Travelling Wilburys, Derek And The Dominoes, The Doors, various songs from the 80s.

15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Wolverine's powers of regeneration are quite appealing right now, seeing as I appear to falling apart as I get older.

16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?
Other than making sure we've soundchecked properly and guitars are tuned? Not really, other than having a beer or two (no more than that nowadays, back in the glory days of Nanaki probably quite a lot more, I try to be a little more sensible now). Why? Because I like beer. I have no superstitions or anything, things will go wrong or they won't.

17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
I have fans now? Awesome! Most people know next to nothing about me so... My middle name is Richard, I guess most people have no real reason to know that.

18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish?
Well I almost never listen to the radio anymore, so that probably tells you all you need to know. There's never been a chance in Hell that Nanaki would be given a chance by mainstream media of any sort, so no, flourishing is out of the question for me I'm afraid.

19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Ideally music takes up most of my time, but I like to read too and I enjoy computer games as well, things like Final Fantasy, Silent Hill, Breath Of Fire, etc.

20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
Other than music, I guess I'm good at making people laugh. Useful things? Not so much. I can make a good coffee apparently, I wouldn't know though, as I despise the stuff.
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